Tributes Written in Memory of Virgil Moneysmith

On the Occasion of a Hundred Years After His Birth

From Granddaughter Lynée Ward

A short memory of Grandpa was how quiet he was—except for when he watched sports. Then he would yell at the refs on TV. But they were the only people I ever heard him yell at. 

When I was in my twenties and G&G were living in Dallas, I went to them for advice. I had gone out with a certain guy several times and wanted input from them – I don’t remember all the circumstances. However, Grandma was doing all the talking, so I stopped and I asked Grandpa what he thought. His words were basically, “Grandma is doing a good job. If I disagree with her, I’ll let you know.”
I don’t have strong memories of getting ready to get my driver’s license, but I’m guessing he is the main one who took me out driving to practice so I could take my test.

I always felt a little sorry for Grandpa because Grandma would snore so loud. 

I was home from teaching in Cameroon the summer that Grandpa had cancer – his last summer here on earth. I was able to spend a week with him in the hospital. I don’t remember much about it, but it was special. Unfortunately I had to go back to Cameroon at the end of the summer. Twenty minutes before we left for the airport, we received the call from Aunt Dottie saying that doctors had only given Grandpa 4 or 6 weeks to live. I started crying and my nose started running, and it didn’t stop for three days. Somewhere on my flight to London I developed a cold so the rest of the flight was miserable. Less than three weeks later I found out Grandpa had died by checking my mail. Someone had taken the call from my parents while I was at school and had just put the note in my mailbox – not something I suggest ever doing to anyone.

From Daughter Esther

When we brought Daddy to our home here in Dallas for what turned out to be the last fifteen days of his life, I did a little mental inventory. I found only two times—once in my childhood and once in adulthood—when my daddy and I were really upset with each other. 

I can assure you, you don’t easily part with a relationship like that! It was a very long time before I could make peace with God for having taken him away from us when it seemed he could have lived several more years. I found a verse in Isaiah (57:1a-2) that helped me: “Devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.” 

I wouldn’t wish Daddy to live all these 100 years since his birth and become infirm and fragile, but I surely would have love to have him a lot longer. Of course from the 57 years I was privileged to have him in my life, I have a wealth of memories about him. I will try to pull a few of them together here.

When I was five years old, I decided I wanted to ask Jesus into my heart. It was right after my sister was born because I remember Mother lying in a darkened bedroom in the original house at Bakouma. I told he what I wanted to do, and she said I should tell Daddy. So he and I knelt beside the bed in the other bedroom and sealed that special decision.

Speaking of education, Daddy had a huge effect on my attitude towards learning because he was always so interested in hearing about everything I learned--from freshman algebra to archaeology and Greek in college years later. 

I remember with a bit of awe going to Daddy after registering for a new semester at Wheaton College and handing him the bill for my tuition. In light of fees today and what it costs a family for someone to go to college, I marvel that my tuition in those long-ago 1950s was just $16 a semester hour. Daddy always just took the bill, and I never had to give it another thought.

I attended my first Vacation Bible School on furlough when I was ten. At the end of the first week, something was said in church about the contest they were running, the one with a Bible as prize for anyone who memorized the list of one verse for each letter of the alphabet. Daddy asked me if I was participating. I wasn’t because it never occurred to me that I could learn all those verses. “Of course you can!” he said, and by the end of the second week, I had. It occurs to me now that it may have been a turning point in my attitude towards what I could do in the learning department.

One of the hardest things I remember was following the Mid-Maples accident on Valentine’s Day 1960. Daddy had both legs broken, with his broken left knee in a cast and a steel pin down his right thigh bone. Today’s skilled rehab people would be horrified, but at that time the doctors had him thirteen weeks in bed before he was allowed to be up and put weight on those legs again. The awful pain he suffered when he finally tried a few steps with a walker is some the worst I’ve ever witnessed personally. 

One of the fun things I enjoy telling about my dad whenever an occasion arises is that he had the distinction of baptizing his own three children in an African river and three of his grandchildren in a Colombian lake. It was indeed a special time when he and Mother came to our Lomalinda translation center in Colombia, South America, for a month over Christmas in 1971-72.

Truly I am blessed to have had Virgil Moneysmith as my earthly father. Pulling together all these memories of our family and enjoying memories from others is of course making me miss him afresh. But I wouldn’t wish him back into what our world has become. As much as I loved him, I have to be grateful God takes the righteous away to “be spared from evil.”

From Fred Gross, son-in-law

My own father’s health began to fail when I was still a young adult, and I was only 42 when he died, but God blessed me with a special relationship with Esther’s father. It wasn’t just the early loss. Esther’s dad and I had some things in common that I didn’t have with my own father. My dad had to work so hard in my early years that he never had time to get interested in sports, but Esther’s dad was big on them. 
In fact, he and I had a few more things in common in that area than he had with his own son. So we watched a lot of football together and some baseball and cheered mostly for the same teams. When they lived in Dallas, he paid for Laurie and me to go with him and Mom to the game when his Chicago Bears came to town to play my Dallas Cowboys. (The Bears won 44-0!)

I will never forget what a godly man he was. When I considered dropping out of Bible school after two years, his unwavering and emotional insistence that I see it through to the end changed the course of Esther’s and my life. Even though it would be another ten years before we became missionaries, I doubt it would have happened at all if I had dropped out of school and returned to New York.

From Granddaughter Laurie Newman

Of course I always think of Grandpa at Christmas and how he sat in his chair and read the Bible story for us every year!

I've always had neck pain, and he used to rub my neck despite his arthritis and then crack my neck!

I remember how whenever we came to their house in Arkansas, he would always go off in the morning while we were still sleeping to get donuts for us!

A big memory was Grandpa’s calm demeanor. He was always calm and rarely got ruffled up about stuff. One time when I was in Arkansas during the winter, he had gone outside. I believe it was kinda snowy/slippery. He came back in and sat down in his recliner and calmly said, "Mother, I've fallen....." The back of his head was bleeding and stuff, but he was calm as could be.

I remember going with them to the Pontiac dealership in Dallas when it was time to get rid of the yellow Citation car. I helped them pick out that flame-red Pontiac Grand Am! I loved when they lived in Dallas on our street! It was so wonderful to have them just down the street and be able to hang out whenever I wanted to! Grandpa was always generous and kind. When he got his inheritance from his brother's estate, he went to the bank and came home with bonus presents to share with all of us – he and Grandma weren't just thinking about themselves.

Grandpa was the one who taught me to drive. He had an old brown Gremlin - like who even made that car? It did not have power steering - I can still remember trying to learn to parallel park in the U drive 
in front of Fischer Hall at Wheaton with Grandpa! I actually worked at Fischer Hall the summer before I started college and went to work each day with Grandpa. We would eat lunch together in his office and 
listen to Paul Harvey! Can't talk about Grandpa and not mention Paul Harvey - lol!!!

Well, that's all I can think of right now.

From Joy Divine Sholty, niece of Esther Moneysmith

Seems like what I remember most about Uncle Flip was his soft and gentle nature. I don't remember every hearing him say a negative word about anything or anyone--now granted I wasn't around him all that much but the times that I was I recall him displaying that gentleness--especially with your mom. Seems like there was something he always called her--like a nickname but I can't remember what it was. Always so sweet though--and what a great personality! I remember he always made us laugh. It's nice to have this day to reflect back on someone who was such a role model in so many different ways.